Carnival Conquest departs PortMiami. (Photo by Theresa Norton)
Comfort levels for cruising amongst experienced travelers are rising with the great cruise booking boom of 2022.
According to the Global Rescue Summer 2022 Traveler Safety and Sentiment Survey, which asked Global Rescue members about their opinions on current travel, 21 percent of travelers feel comfortable cruising right now; a number that has increased by two percent since earlier in the year.
Forty percent of those who responded to the survey have also cruised this year or are planning to cruise this year.
The data comes as bookings for cruises have exceeded 2019’s pre-pandemic booking numbers. Carnival Cruise Line alone has welcomed over 3 million guests since May and continues to break booking records for this year and beyond.
Two travel advisors who specialize in cruising share their thoughts about the cruise boom.
“We are busier now than we have ever been,” said Jesse Morris, Owner of We Book Travel, LLC, an independent agency in the Avoya Travel network. “Cruising still represents a fantastic value for our clients compared to other vacation types and since the CDC announced that they were no longer enforcing cruise-related restrictions this has only increased the demand we are seeing. People are just tired of sitting at home and want something to look forward to.”
Stephen Scott, Founder and CEO of Travel Hub 365 & the Odyssey Travel App has cruised several times throughout the year and shares his personal experience cruising: “I have sailed on multiple cruise lines this year and all I see are packed cruise ships. It has been so full that I’m extremely thankful to finish off the summer in the South of France on Star Clippers to get away from the crowds. From my experience, we are seeing a large number of guests from countries across Europe and South America onboard ships here in America.”
Happy woman looking at sea from a cruise ship. (photo via BraunS / E+)
Concerns over testing requirements and what happens if a cruise guest tests positive for COVID-19 remain the biggest concerns for travelers, while high airfare prices are another point of concern.
“The biggest concerns circle around pre-testing requirements, and what will happen if you or your family member tests positive while onboard or pre-cruise. The cruise lines have really stepped up to the plate to adjust policies, set up onboard plans,” said Scott. “Personally, the work that it takes to get testing done pre-cruise and fill out the added forms, and be prepared at check-in for all of your travelers, is very daunting. It’s not easy, and I’m sure that it’s one of the main reasons that cruise lines want to reduce all of that.
“While not specific to cruising alone, airfare is the biggest challenge related to cruise bookings right now. Between the lack of routes, air schedule changes and pricing, our clients are becoming more frustrated,” added Morris. “It is not stopping them from booking, but it is adding a layer of difficulty that I have not had to deal with in the past. I have been setting stronger and stronger expectations with my clients to ensure they understand that patience and understanding are going to be needed.”
Despite the high airfare costs and concerns about COVID-19, both advisors are booking at record paces, a sign that cruising is truly becoming more popular than ever before.
“Wave season has turned into a wave year for us. We are busier now than we were in 2019 and have already exceeded all of 2021,” said Morris. “After more than two years of the Covid nightmare, I could not be more delighted. There are still challenges but few things are as challenging as Covid has been.”
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